Oxygen generators separate oxygen from air so that the gas can be fed into industrial processes in real-time or stored in pressure tanks. Oxygen generators are used in dozens of industrial applications ranging from gold mining to aquaculture to life support.
Normal ambient air is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and other trace gases like argon and CO2. In order to remove the nitrogen and trace gases an oxygen generator is used.
The smallest portable oxygen concentrator can be no larger than a soda can, while industrial oxygen generators can be as large as a bus. However, all oxygen generators have the same purpose: to provide a safe supply of concentrated oxygen gas.
Businesses who need bulk oxygen often start by purchasing tanks from other companies who fill those tanks using an industrial oxygen generator. If the need is large and ongoing, it may be cost-effective for the business to purchase their own oxygen generator and produce oxygen on site. While the up-front cost of the machinery is significant, the cost per cubic foot of oxygen generated is 1/3 to 1/2 that of purchasing bulk oxygen, so over time the oxygen concentrator can pay for itself.
One example of this is hospitals that pipe oxygen into patient rooms. Instead of bottled oxygen, most hospitals have one or more industrial oxygen generators in the building.